Friday, August 01, 2014

HYMN Updated: Saints of God, the Devil, Prowling

I'd been looking for an idea for a hymn for next year's 125th anniversary of my current congregation, St. Peter Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill, Illinois. With the events happening all over the world with Muslims marking out Christians for death, I was inspired to write this. As you can see, I Peter 5 and the Sermon on the Mount influenced this text. I wanted to talk about persecution and how the three Persons of the Trinity answer it. Whether or not I succeeded, well...I'll leave that for you to say.

EDIT: Thanks to some helpful advice from Kathryn Hill on a different hymn at the 2014 Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music (about which I will post later), I've re-worked my latest hymn. It still needs more work, but for once I plan on keeping track of my progress as I make it. Let me know what you think or what advice you might have.

Saints of God, the Devil, Prowling

1. Saints of God, the devil, prowling,
Seeking whom he may devour,
With his demon horde is howling
In this persecution hour,
Tempting, blaming, sin-befouling.
Who on earth resists his pow'r?

2. Saints of God, our holy Father,
Looking from eternity,
Saw our fall, but still would gather
Sinners who from Satan flee.
He sent Christ to be our Brother,
Sent the Christ to set us free.

3. Saints of God, the Son, our Savior,
Born of woman, born of God,
Bore the brunt of man’s disfavor,
Bore the curse: death’s savage rod.
Now death’s sting is gone forever.
Overcome is Satan’s fraud.

4. Saints of God, the Spirit crying
Comforts us in ev’ry need.
Death, the world, the devil’s lying
Can no more our souls impede.
Now the Spirit, ever vying,
Calls God’s children free indeed.

5. Saints of God, our flesh betrays us.
See the prince of earth conspire.
All who hate the Word would slay us,
Sentence us to angry fire.
Though they beat us, mock, or flay us,
None can dare our souls require.

6. Saints of God, the world deplores us.
Rage and spite, our earthly lot.
Boldly face the cross before us.
Let the faithless scheme and plot.
We, though all the world abhors us,
By Christ’s holy blood are bought.

7. Saints of God, though death comes near us,
Blessed are we to face the blade.
Rise to pray. The Father hears us.
Tremble not! Be not afraid!
Sing for joy! The Lord will cheer us
With white robes that never fade.

∆ 8. Saints of God who live hereunder,
Hail Him with the angel host.
Martyrs, make your praises thunder:
Sing the name of which we boast,
Worshipping in endless wonder
Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

© 2014 Alan Kornacki, Jr.
87 87 87
Suggested Tune: Ascended Triumph
(LSB 491, © 1973 Henry Gerike--ask him for permission to use)

PUBLIC DOMAIN TUNE: Westminster Abbey
(LSB 914) 


Michael Ritzman said...

3. Saints of God, the Son, our Savior,
Born of woman, born of God,
Bore the brunt of man’s disfavor,
Bore the curse of death’s foul rod.
Now death’s sting is gone forever,
Overcome is Satan’s fraud.

Bore the curse of death's cruel rod

That way the vowel sounds go from 'ooo' to 'aaah' which, I think, is a nicer sounding transition than 'aaaw' to 'aaah'. And you already used 'foul' in stanza 1; you only get one per hymn ;)

I really hope that makes sense. Otherwise, it is a brilliant piece. I would love to hear the melody.

Michael Ritzman said...

Alright, I have a couple more suggestions:

6. Us, our, us, you, us

The pronouns are all inclusive, except the 'you.' How about this:

We, though all the world abhors us,
By Christ’s holy blood are bought.

7. With white robes which never fade.

Change 'which' to 'that' for three reasons:

1) It is a little like a tongue twister
2) three 'wh' sounds so close together is wh-eird. And again, I think the 'oooh' 'aaah' transition versus the 'oooh' 'whi' sounds better.
3) I believe in this case that 'that' is grammatically correct.

That' all. I can't wait to hear it whether you change anything or not!